POEA employees to be investigated for illegal recruitment and human trafficking-Trillanes

By Jason de Asis


SENATE OFFICE, January 23, 2011-With the reported unscrupulous agencies in the illegal recruitment and trafficking of Filipino workers, Senator Antonio Trillanes IV urged the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee to conduct investigation to some officials and employees of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) in the alleged anomalies and collusion concerning allegations of various stakeholders that certain officials and employees of the POEA are involved in human trafficking and violations of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.


Trillanes cited complaints lodged with the Department of Justice (DOJ) pointing to the alleged connivance between POEA officials and three (3) recruitment agencies that led to the exploitation of about 100 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in his statement under Senate Resolution No. 329, saying that the licenses of these recruiters had expired and yet were not sanctioned by the POEA.


“It was the people within the POEA that really committed the injustice to OFW’s,” he said, that’s questionable the POEA was pinpointed by the revelation of the placement agencies.  Trillanes added the other tragic to OFW about the killing of Romelyn Ibanez, a native of Mindanao, who left the country for Saudi Arabia with a POEA-processed job contract to work as a nursing aide. All of a sudden, the later was found dead with stab wounds and acid in her stomach in the household where she worked as a domestic helper.


Another, duly processed by the POEA was the complaint of a group of Filipino women who sought the help of the Blas F. Ople Policy Center, against the Arabian Gulf Company for violation of the terms of contract, saying that OFWs were supposed to work as nursing aides with a monthly salary of US$362, but ended up working as cleaners with a pay check ranging from P5,000 to P8,000 per month.


The Senator explained that such regulatory failures and criminal connivance of the erring POEA officials have led to the rampant exploitation and trafficking of overseas workers, as well as a sense of demoralization among the rest of the POEA personnel.


He said to bridge the gaps in the policies that allow the wanton violations of rules and regulations by placement agencies, foreign principals and brokers, it was important to revise the existing laws and craft a new measure.


Trillanes said that to ensure that his or her job contract and foreign employer have been duly verified and rigorously screened at the core of this controversy is the welfare and protection of every overseas worker who relies on the POEA. (Jason de Asis)

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